St. Marks Lighthouse

Florida Lighthouse Trail // Pensacola & The Forgotten Coast

In the 1820’s, the town of St. Marks was considered an important port of entry. St. Marks served as a port for the prosperous planting region of Middle Florida and parts of South Georgia. Growers transported their agricultural products to the port town by way of an early road that connected Tallahassee to the town of St. Marks. Later, this road would become the state’s first railroad. Built in 1842, it is still a working lighthouse and is the second-oldest light station in Florida.

St. Marks Lighthouse

If you’re a bird lover, another thing that makes this location unique is the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1931 as a wintering home for migratory birds. It serves as the gateway to the Panhandle Section of the Great Florida Birding Trail, and is a popular spot for viewing over 250 and different species throughout the year.

For safety reasons, visitors may not climb the stairs. However, the inside has been beautifully restored and the fascinating tour guides will tell you about the history of the lighthouse, including stories of those who were the keepers of the light.

According to local legend, the limestone blocks that create the lighthouse, including the 12-foot-thick limestone base, are from the ruins of old Fort San Marcos de Apalachee. In addition, there is an unmarked trail that leads behind the lighthouse. The secret is that it’s accessible only during low tide. It’s worth the wait, as it exposes a peninsula with a small but unspoiled beach with a view of the lighthouse and marshes.

The history of St. Marks Lighthouse is rich with intrigue and is a can’t-miss destination on any lighthouse getaway

St. Marks Lighthouse

Visitors to St. Marks Lighthouse will appreciate the picturesque location and unspoiled natural Florida landscape. Photo by Roberto Gonzalez



The verdict is in: The Lodge at Wakulla Springs is a must stay location when visiting St. Marks Lighthouse. An elegant hotel built in 1937, it’s a glimpse at a gentler time, brimming with unique sensibilities and charm. Do yourself a favor and order their fried chicken and beignets with collard greens and garlic smashed potatoes |


If you aren’t too full of the fried chicken and beignets at The Lodge at Wakulla Springs, then head over to Riverside Café on the River. As they say, “Any further south and you’re all wet.” The menu offers a wide variety but don’t skip the stone crab claws, blackened grouper sandwich and gumbo. The view is spectacular |


The beaches in this area are famous, as the sand is so white it looks like snow. Don’t miss the Heritage Park & Cultural Center in Fort Walton Beach, which also has a historic city tour |


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Categories: Travel